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Review 🔍 Howloween Murder by Laurien Berenson

August 28, 2020
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howloween-murder-laurien-berenson

As the town of Greenwich, Connecticut, counts down to a spooky celebration on October 31st, a horrifying murder leaves Melanie Travis pawing for clues in a hair-raising game of trick-or-treat . . .
 
With just a few days left before Halloween, everyone at Howard Academy is anticipating the guaranteed sugar high they’ll experience from gorging on Harriet Bloom’s famous marshmallow puffs. The private school’s annual costume party revolves around the headmaster’s assistant and her seemingly supernatural batches of gooey goodies. So, it’s a shock when Harriet’s elderly neighbor is suddenly found dead with the beloved dessert in his hand. In a snap, police start questioning whether Harriet modified her top-secret recipe to include a hefty dose of lethal poison . . .
 
Melanie knows her tenured colleague would never intentionally serve cyanide-laced puffs to a defenseless old man. But as explosive neighborhood gossip reveals a potential culprit, it also brings her closer to sealing her own doom. Because on an evening ruled by masked revelers, bizarre getups, and hidden identities, Halloween might just be the perfect opportunity for a cold-hearted killer to get away with murder once again—this time sending a nosy, unsuspecting sleuth to an early grave!


Release Date: Aug 25, 2020
Series: A Melanie Travis Mystery
Book: 26
Publisher: Kensington
Price: $9.99


 

Melanie Travis is having a strange day at work. First she helps a fellow teacher at the Howard Academy in Connecticut see that there really isn’t a ghost in the school’s attic. Then she finds herself comforting the usually unflappable school secretary, Harriet Bloom. Harriet is a suspect in her neighbor Ralph’s murder who died after eating poisoned Halloween marshmallow treats that Harriet baked for him. Both Harriet and Howard Academy’s headmaster convince Melanie to investigate to clear Harriet’s name and save the school’s reputation.

Howloween Murder is the twenty-sixth book in this dog-centered series. This installment would definitely stand alone for new readers wanting to give the series a try. Most of the books in the series take place at least partially at a dog show. There are no dog shows in this book, but there are some touching scenes with one of Melanie’s poodles, Faith, and a shy student of Melanie’s.outspoken Aunt Peg has limited involvement in this book and is on her best behavior when she is. There are a few scenes with Melanie at home, but not as many as usual.

Although facts about poodles are worked into the story, the focus of the book is the investigation into the murder of Ralph Penders. Melanie does a great job uncovering details that the police department can’t. I wasn’t surprised when it was revealed who was behind Ralph’s death since I had figured it out before Melanie. However, I like both the human and the canine characters in this series, so I enjoyed the book. The school’s big Halloween party is fun and will get you in the mood for Fall. There is even a recipe for the infamous chocolate marshmallow treats at the end of the book. Although this isn’t the best in the series, returning fans will enjoy the story. The book is also a good introduction to the series for new readers, especially dog lovers, who will want to go back and read prior books in this well-written series.

~ Christine

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